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What is a Afghan Farmer

An Afghan farmer stands before his house; a mounted soldier from a nomad tribe is at the left. language called Pushtu, which is the of­ficial language of the country. Another big tribe, the Pathans, came originally from India, and still another, the Ghilzais, were once Turks. With the Durani, these tribes make up about half the people of Afghanistan, and together they are called Afghans.

An Afghan farmer stands before his house; a mounted soldier from a nomad tribe is at the left. language called Pushtu, which is the of­ficial language of the country. Another big tribe, the Pathans, came originally from India, and still another, the Ghilzais, were once Turks. With the Durani, these tribes make up about half the people of Afghanistan, and together they are called Afghans. (The "-istan" in the name means "held by," so Af­ghanistan means "land held by the Af­ghans.") Among the smaller tribes, there are the Hazars, who once were Mongol peo­ple and were brought to Afghanistan by the cruel conqueror Genghis Khan. These are the Kaffirs, who once were Greeks, and whose name means "un­believers"—that is, people who are not Mohammedans. There are the Tafirs, who may have been the earliest of all the people to live in Afghanistan. The men of Afghanistan are athletic and handsome. They have dark hair and eyes, and fair complexions. Many have flowing beards. Many of them are great horsemen and marksmen with their ri­fles, for their people have been warlike for many generations, though they now live at peace with their neighbors.

The men can take great hardship, are very stern, and can be very cruel. They are hospitable and kind to visitors, but some­times two of the smaller tribes, or fam­ilies, have private fights or feuds, and then they kill one another on sight. 76 They wear turbans on their heads, and long robes called caftans. The women still follow some old Mohammedan customs that have been given up in several more modern Mo­hammedan countries. They cover them­selves with long robes that reach to the feet, and wear veils over their faces. They do not eat with the men, or join in men's conversations. A man may have more than one wife—as many as four wives are permitted—though it is more customary for a man to have only one wife, as in Christian countries.

The children first learn to read and write from the Mohammedan priest. He teaches them from the Koran, the Holy Book or Bible of their religion. It is only since 1931 that Afghanistan has had a law requiring all children to go to school. HOW THE Most of the people of Afghanistan are either farmers or shepherds. They are quite poor. The average Afghan makes only $50 a year, not much more than the average American makes in a week. The farmers live in houses in villages. They have to work very hard, because there is no modern farm machinery and there is not enough rainfall to make the land very fertile. The farmers raise enough food for their families. Their biggest crop is wheat. They also raise cotton, tobacco, sugar beets, and other plants and vegetables, which they sell.

The women are famous for weaving rugs and making handmade jewelry, and the children used to help, working all day from the time they were five or six years old. Now they go to school, but they still work during other hours. About half the people are nomads ("wanderers"). They live in tents and move from place to place. Many of these nomads are the shepherds. Among the sheep they raise is the karakul, from which is made a blackFind Article, curly fur that is used for women's fur coats.


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